Young Business Lawyer Spotlight – Osarugue Izekor
Full name – Osarugue Tracy Izekor
Firm – Templars
Area of Practice – Finance & Projects Law Practice
Years of Experience – 9 years
Professional Summary– Osarugue is a key Senior Associate in the Finance & Projects practice group at Templars. She has extensive experience advising bilateral and multilateral agencies, development finance institutions, borrowers, government entities, domestic and international financiers, export credit agencies, and other stakeholders on market-leading financing transactions. Her unique experience and commercial astuteness recently earned her a Rising Star, leading lawyer award by the IFLR1000 Guide 2022.
Osarugue is also actively involved in shaping the regulatory landscape for doing business in Nigeria. Recently, she was issued a Presidential Recognition and Appreciation for her contributions on the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council Working Group.
She was a key member of the team which advised: Access Bank plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank plc and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria in connection with the restructuring and refinancing of a US$500 million debt provided to the Geometric Power Group for the Aba Integrated Power Project which is the only fully-integrated generation and mass distribution project in Nigeria; and African Capital Alliance, a leading pan-African investment management firm, on its acquisition of a controlling equity stake in the award-winning multi-brand quick-service restaurant group, Food Concepts Plc.
Four Questions with Osarugue
What do you appreciate most about your work as a young lawyer?
A major part of my work as a finance lawyer involves applying legal principles to craft workable solutions to meet clients’ mandates. To an extent, some of these mandates (once achieved) have the tendency of making meaningful contributions toward societal and economic development and this brings me a deep sense of satisfaction. An example of such transactions is the landmark restructuring of the Geometric Power Aba IPP Project which is expected to result in a 24-hour power supply to Aba, the commercial hub of Eastern Nigeria, thereby enhancing the industrialization, economic growth, and export potentials of the region.
What is that one valuable experience in your practice of law that continues to spur you on?
In the recent past, I was part of the team that advised two sovereign entities in relation to their respective debut Sukuk issuance in the Nigerian Islamic capital market. Interestingly, both Sukuk issuances were over-subscribed as they unlocked access to a vast pool of Islamic financing which would have otherwise remained untapped.
This experience made me realize that with the right application of legal principles and financing structures, access to financing is an absolute reality in any jurisdiction. This realization spurs me on, as I daily seek to craft legal solutions to cater to clients’ financing needs.
In your opinion, what one area of law do we need more female lawyers and how can they explore the advantages in this area?
I believe the financing and development of Sustainable Development Goals is an area that needs more female lawyers. This practice area is, more often than not, saddled with delays with closing because they are more social in orientation than economic. However, female lawyers may be better placed to push the social narrative and the positive impact on women, children, and the larger society.
What is the best advice you have ever received? (How can other young lawyers apply this advice)
The ultimate aim of deals/business transactions is to achieve a commercial objective, not to win a legal battle. Young lawyers can apply this advice to business transactions by being mindful to, as much as possible, avoid alienating a colleague or counterparty in their quest to score points on a deal. Relationship building is very key in this line of work.